Remembering Senator John McCain

        War Hero. Maverick. Independent. Senator John McCain, passed away at the age of 81 on August 25, 2018. While many view McCain as a politician and senator from Arizona, others have alternate perspectives on John McCain’s actions and personality.

        “I think for a while it had been just the slightly infamous knowledge of just Obama’s first election, but as it evolved you realized how much of a stand up guy he was.” said Payton Selby, vice president for the Young Democrats club.  “He really did not embrace the kind of ugliness that has become a common place in politics these days. When accusations were made against Obama, he immediately shut them down. He recognized Obama as a family guy and simply said that he was doing the best for the people just as he was. It became very evident very quickly that John McCain was a unique kind of politician where he stands for what he thinks is best for the people. He was very noble.”

        McCain’s bold initiatives and unselfish actions defied the commonly held image of a politician in America today. Whether it was defending Obama in his presidential election, or even going out against his own party, it was evident that McCain was doing what he could for the people and not for his own personal benefits.

        “I think most would agree that his pursuit and commitment to shaping the best America possible was admirable,” said Will Wallace, vice president of the Young Conservatives club. “He stood for his beliefs with conviction and did so out of his love for his country.”

        Before McCain entered the political arena, he graduated from the Naval Academy and became a naval aviator for the United States Navy during the Vietnam War. On his 23rd bombing mission, Mccain was shot out of the air and was captured by the Viet Cong. Although the North Vietnamese offered McCain an early release, the senator declined the offer saying that many of his comrades had been imprisoned longer. The five and a half years McCain suffered through torture and hardships is a testament to the bravery and courage that defines him.

        “When I think of John McCain, I think of war hero,” said freshman Andrew Thompson. “He was tortured to give up secrets and to sign documents to claim that he was doing war crimes. It was an act of heroism when he didn’t give in and persevered through all the hard times.” Shortly after McCain’s death, the Vietnam news interviewed his jailer Tran Trong Duyet. Duyet recalled memories of McCain and acknowledged that McCain was a different prisoner from the rest. He never got the chance to meet the senator before he passed away, but he ponders about  o what he would say if he ever got the opportunity.

        “It was his stubbornness, his strong stance that I loved arguing with him,” said Duyet in his interview with the Vietnam news. “Out of working hours we considered each other friends. He taught me English… he had good teaching skills. If he came to Vietnam, I would greet him, not as a former prisoner and a jailer, but as two veterans, from both sides of the battlefield, now meeting again in the spirit of reconciliation

        Not only did the Vietnamese jailer pay his tributes to McCain but the rest of Vietnam showed their gratitude to the senator too. At Hanoi’s Truc Bach Lake stands a monument that marks McCain’s capture there on October 27, 1967. Many Vietnamese well-wishers and foreigners have visited the monument to pay their respects to the late senator by leaving flowers and incense at a makeshift shrine. Furthermore, the foreign minister of Vietnam visited the U.S embassy in Hanoi and offered his own tributes to McCain, calling him “a symbol of his generations of senators, and of the veterans of the Vietnam war” in a message in a condolence book.

        “Although he was once our enemy, he did a lot to help restore relations between the U.S. and Vietnam,” 60-year-old Hoang Manh Cuong told Bloomberg News. “That helped open the economy and improved our lives dramatically. We owe him for that.”

        Even though the senator has passed away, he will be fondly remembered for his endearing traits. McCain’s legacy is not just his political opinions but also his vibrant personality and patriotic action. Throughout his lifetime, McCain defined what a brave man, a hero, and a leader was.

        “It was that American thing that says ‘I don’t know.’ ‘I’m not sure.’ ‘I’m not just going to go along with the flow.’ ‘I’m going to stay independent.’ that he went along with,” said upper school history teacher Joe Tribble. “Independence. I think that is what he represents. Sometimes a little reckless but sometimes it requires a little bit of recklessness in order to succeed,”

        McCain made the decision not to receive any further cancer treatment on August 24, 2018, and lived his last few days with his family in Arizona. The senator was courageous throughout his final moments and will never be forgotten.

        A war hero, a leader, and a valiant man, McCain befittingly once said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the capacity to act despite our fears.”